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Baghdad Reopens Major Bridge


A bridge linking Sunni and Shi'ite neighborhoods in the Iraqi capital has reopened, three years after nearly a thousand Shi'ite pilgrims died in a stampede on the span.

Hundreds of people crossed al-Aaimmah bridge Tuesday, calling it a symbol of solidarity, and of Baghdad's improved security.

The deadly stampede that closed the bridge was sparked by rumors of a suicide bomber.

Despite security improvements, violence continues to plague Baghdad.

Security sources say two roadside bombings killed at least three people and injured many others in the eastern part of the capital Tuesday. The attacks happened on busy Palestine street where people were waiting for work.

A fourth person died in a separate attack in northern Baghdad.

In the northern city of Mosul, officials say a car bomb attack wounded at least 15 people.

Also in the north, a politician promoting constitutional rights for ethnic and religious minorities was wounded when a roadside bomb struck his car. Ashur Benjamin Yelda and three others were wounded in the attack.

Iraq's foreign minister, Hoshyar Zebari, traveled to Syria Tuesday for talks likely to focus on a proposed U.S.-Iraqi security pact, which Damascus has criticized.

It is Zebari's first visit to Syria since U.S. forces in Iraq carried out a cross-border raid on a Syrian village last month.

Washington said the raid targeted insurgents, but Syria said eight civilians were killed.

Also Tuesday, the Iraqi Cabinet approved a $67 billion budget for next year after cutting spending plans because of falling oil prices.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.



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